By Zaheer Mohamed
The Regional U17 cricket championship is the only one that has eluded Guyana at the age group level and while Guyana has won the U15 and U19 tournaments which they have won for the past four years.
The closest they have come to in winning the U17 tournament was in 2016 when Guyana placed second when a powerful Guyana team which was led by Bhaskar Yadram and included the likes of Joshua Persaud, Ashmead Nedd and Sachin Singh, had their final game against the host nation Trinidad and Tobago rained out; the Guyanese played unbeaten in that tournament and a win in the final game would have guaranteed them the title.
Quite a number of players who came through the junior ranks have made great strides in their careers over a short span of time. One name that readily comes to mind is Essequibian Keemo Paul, Guyana’s latest West Indies recruit.
Paul’s dedication and determination coupled with his calm character has done his talent justice. Among the other players who have done well so far are Sherfane Rutherford, Shimron Hetmyer, Raymond Perez and Ronaldo Alimohamed.
The Guyana Cricket Board has decided to include the U17 players in their U19 Inter County tournament to aid in their preparation for regional assignments. This also helps to give the selectors a closer look at the pool of players.
In 2018, the U17 lads ended runner-up in the one-day tournament, losing to Berbice in the final at Providence. Nevertheless they have shown that have what it takes to excel at the regional level.
In the three-day version of the U19 tournament, the U17 players showed grit and determination, and even though Demerara’s skipper Bhaskar Yadram chalked up 301 not out against them, they never showed any signs of frustration and responded positively when they took to the crease. One of the positives is the batting of Yougister Persaud who ended unbeaten on 90; he has batted with a high level maturity for his age. The team played well throughout the tournament and the selectors had a decent look at the players and one should expect little surprises when the final touring party in announced.
Sachin Singh, in his third year at this level is highly favoured to be named Captain. Singh is one of the leading batsmen in the team and his level-headedness backed up with his ability to motivate his players will serve the newcomers well overseas.
Singh can rely on the dependable Dwayne Dick who should be named his deputy. Dick represented Demerara at this year’s inter county U19 tournament and grabbed a 5-wicket haul in his very first game. His ability with the bat makes him a genuine all-rounder-one of the good qualities of this youngster is he tends to adapt well when under pressure.
Seon Glasgow should be another automatic pick; he is another genuine all-rounder and so is Andre Seepersaud. These two players were outstanding in the U19 competition. Marvan Prashad and Mavindra Dindyal who struck 98 against Barbados in the regional U15 final along with Leon Swami form a decent batting line up. Spinner Nigel Deodat, Niran Bissu, pacers Sheldon Charles and Gevon Schults are capable enough to restrict opposition batting.
Probable squad: Sachin Singh (Capt.), Seon Glasgow, Andre Seepersaud, Dwayne Dick, Leon Swami, Nigel Deodat, Marvan Prashad, Sheldon Charles, Lance Roberts/Mavindra Dindyal, Silvan Williams, Gevon Schultz, Niran Bissu, Yeudistir Persaud and Ameer Singh.
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